Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
The Looney Oregon Coast: Facts About the Famous and the Freaky
(Oregon Coast) - Did you know the lifespan of some sea and shoreline dwellers is twice as long as yours? Did you know the wacky tales of famous folk who hung out in Yachats in the 70’s? Or where is the seriously ghostly Oregon ghost town?
The real facts about the Oregon coast can be a truly odd
ride - amusing, offbeat or simply wowing. Here, you’ll discover
what you may find in Oregon coast tide pools and which things may be edible
or make you fall and crack your head. There’s chucklers about a
car sticking out of the back of a restaurant, a Sea Lion wandering the
streets of the north coast and why no starfish will ever be accused of
Type A behavior.
These days, the Landmark Restaurant & Lounge in sleepy Yachats is one of the hotspots for live music on the Oregon coast. They’ll bring in plenty of big names from Portland and Eugene, as well as the occasional visit from Australia, New York, Austin or other exotic musical locales.
In the 70’s, however, it brought a lot of famous names to town.
Then, it was called Beulah’s, bringing bands like
The Drifters, Ink Spots and The Coasters. In the late 70’s and early
80’s, it was part of a coast circuit of reunion
Also rather unusual is the lounge’s pre-history of being a gay hotspot at that time as well (as the owners were gay). It would also regularly host transvestite reviews – remarkably progressive for, what was then, a truly redneck-infested area. Unfortunately, the denizens of the less-than-socially-tolerant logger bar up the road would make fairly frequent sojourns to Beulah’s and rough up the clientele.
This building is also rather famous for a wild and crazy story where a car came crashing through the front of the restaurant sometime in the middle part of the century, coming to rest out the other side, with its front end sticking out, precariously balanced some two stories above the ground.
Hilariously, the somewhat cantankerous female owner at the time was asleep in a room just below the melee, and did not hear the crash.
Did You Know These Freaky Facts?
Did you know: That the Seaside Aquarium was the first aquarium
in the U.S. to successfully breed harbor seals
Did you know: Some species of rockfish can live over 100 years!
Did you know: The fastest swimming pinniped is the California Sea Lion at 25 miles per hour. That apparently didn’t help one hapless Sea Lion on the north Oregon coast who last year wandered into Fort Stevens State park, then managed to get thoroughly lost and began meandering around the streets, scaring traffic. Park officials finally found a way to lead him back to the water later in the day.
Did you know: The fastest sea star is the Pacific Sun Star at .027 miles per hour. This means .027 miles per hour translates to 75 cm per minute. Not exactly NASCAR material.
Did you know: Starfish have small pinchers called pedicellariae, which catch small animals (such as barnacles) that are attempting to settle on the surface of the starfish. The starfish doesn't necessarily eat the barnacles they just pinch them off of their surface so they cannot settle on them.
Did you know: Geoducks, a type of clam, can live for over 140 years.
Did you know: Seagulls can live for over 30 years.
Did you know: There is less sand on the beaches of Seaside during the winter than during the summer, due to the heavy surf which sweeps the sand away.
Thanks to Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium for these. You can find out more about these fun facts and see the creatures involved at the Aquarium, which is on the Prom. (503) 738-6211.
The Weird Wonders of Oregon Coast Tide Pools
Tiffany Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium went exploring coastal tide pools one day and took note of the massive variety of life forms to be discovered, as well as talked about what sort of sea goo may make you slip and fall while checking out these colonies of wonders yourself.
“Twelve different species that I can identify,” she said. “Little Rockweed, Sea Cabbage, Laver, Black Pine, Spongy Cushion, Sea Moss, Split Kelp, Iridescent Seaweed, Scouler's Surfgrass, Winged Kelp, Coral Leaf Algae and Encrusting Coralline Algae. Now, this is just in one tidal area (granted it was quite large) and there were a few more things in there, but I couldn't identify them.
“The slipperiest of these were the kelps and the iridescent seaweed. The Laver and Sea Cabbage are also quite slippery. Laver grows in the upper to mid intertidal zones, so tide poolers will run into this quite often. It is slippery and you can easily fall if walking on it, so be careful.
“Laver is also known as Wild Nori and is very tasty. Another edible seaweed I ran into was the winged kelp. The Spongy Cushion, Sea Moss, Black Pine, and the Coral Algae (both encrusting and leaf) are not very slick. Though I'm not suggesting to walk on them; you shouldn’t trample on anything around or in a tide pool.”
In fact, that’s often illegal, Boothe said.
She added that the Little Rockweed can at times be very slick and not at others.
The Ghost of a Ghost Town: Bayocean
What you now see as the Tillamook Spit, miles of what seems like unending dunes and hiking possibilities, was for a brief period a thriving resort town that hosted thousands of people in the summertime. But only 15 years later, the place gradually fell into greater and greater disrepair, eventually becoming a ghost town.
Now, about 100 years later, nothing tangible remains of this place. It is the ghost of a ghost town, completely reclaimed by nature.
It all began around 1906, when a Kansas developer named Potter bought the land with his son. They set about building this grandiose resort, which included two hotels, drug store, grocery store, a “bungalow city” and a “tent city,” as well as tennis courts, a natatorium that housed a movie theater, a tin shop, bowling alley, a cannery and other attractions. A diesel engine provided electricity and the area had a decent phone system. Miles of roads were even built, and the place had its grand opening in 1912.
There were around 600 plots set for homes, many of which were built, and Bayocean was well on its way to become the "Atlantic City of the West." That never quite materialized, however.
A yacht carried folks to the spit and back to the mainland, where the trains connected tourists and vacationers to the Portland area. For at least a few years, there were about 50 fulltime residents, including a man who pioneered the use of crab pots on the north Oregon coast. During the summer, thousands flooded the town and took advantage of the fun stuff. There and along the ports of Garibaldi and Tillamook, it was described as “activity everywhere.”
The honeymoon was relatively short. Its heyday lasted only a few years. The first man to buy a lot from Potter’s company, Francis Mitchell, started its first businesses and the post office, but also soon began accusing Potter of fraud. This feud lasted for years and split the town’s growing residency. Eventually, Potter’s company failed, and the resort changed hands a few times, closing and reopening periodically throughout the 20’s and 30’s.
By the late 20’s and 30’s, erosion began reclaiming
the spit, and some buildings started to fall into the sea. Each winter
brought some new disaster. The construction of the jetties at the mouth
of the bay is considered to be the culprit, as these change the action
of the waters and how they affect the shoreline (much in the same way
the construction of the jetties at the mouth of the Columbia changed the
shorelines of Warrenton and Seaside).
The Great Depression and wartime finally permanently killed off the resort. Meanwhile, more buildings fell into the sea over the years. Eventually, many of these miles of roads, attractions and hotels disappeared. But not before falling into serious disrepair for many years. By the 30’s or 40’s, there are reports of buildings devoid of occupants and empty, broken windows “staring out like soulless, lifeless eyes.”
It went through a few phases of being occupied by a few here and there who tried to restart some of the businesses and even an artist colony or two. About 1970, there is one report from a former local - who grew up there when the Potters kickstarted the venture – about what he saw a few years before. At the time, he was in his 80’s, and rather forlornly describes seeing a “hippie” town occupying the area.
The natatorium started crumbling in 1936, completely disappearing by 1939. The Post Office shut down in 1953 after the majority of the residents moved away, with, ironically, Mitchell being the last to leave.
A year later, the spit was breached by a massive storm. That eventually “healed” itself, but Bayocean was firmly a ghost town and doomed.
The rest of it was bulldozed over in the 70's by the government.
Supposedly, at extremely low tides, you can see the remnants of a boiler in the water just off the town of Cape Meares. Some residents of that tiny village will tell you the diagonal shoreline of the village was Third St. at the height of Bayocean's brief romp. There was a 1st St. and Second St. back then. That's how much storms and tidal conditions had destroyed the place in the middle part of the century.
A few buildings were saved and moved to Cape Meares. The community gathering place there is the former school and church from the old resort. There is some talk you may occasionally find part of a structure in the form of a chunk of concrete or metal somewhere in the dunes.
That’s all that is left of a true ghost town.